School is the time when you are supposed to have fun, study, and make friends. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Sheetal (name changed) who was a victim of bullying. This was in the 1980s – there was no internet where she would have been able to raise her voice against the injustice. Here is her story.
Sheetal was a pretty girl with stars in her eyes and loved at home. Unfortunately, she was loathed by the teacher. In class 6, she was the ‘chosen one’, students were ordered (by the teacher) from talking to Sheetal. If they did, the teacher would fail them. The girls followed the rule, did not question it and neither did Sheetal. She kept mum, sat alone in class, during the break, and throughout the school. When she could not take the pain anymore after many months, she broke down and told her parents. Taking their daughter in their arms and crying with her, her parents visited the school and related the incident to the principal. Each classmate was questioned but every girl discounted the facts. Sheetal was branded a liar and was even referred to as a bitch. She came from a family where swear words were unheard of, so she believed the term.
Her parents shifted her to another school. Sheetal could not make friends. A boy from college befriended her, and to her delight, she finally had a friend who wanted to talk to her! He told her that they had to keep their friendship a secret. She did not refuse, she was thrilled that she finally had a friend. People got wind of this in school and branded her a slut. She asked her friend (Govind) if she was a slut and he laughed. She laughed too, but in confusion. The tone of the girls was quite hateful like the earlier school, but her friend Govind laughed so she believed in him. She faced a huge amount of ridicule in school and started acting up at home, her grades suffered, she was sinking further.
One day, she was 13 now, Govind (name changed) asked her to go for a movie. He encouraged her to refrain from telling anyone after all their friendship was a secret. Sheetal listened with rapt attention to him and bunked a day from school. At the movies she was in for a shock, he tried feeling her up – she was scared. Something in her felt that Govind should take her back home. But he bought her chocolates and was very sweet. Sheetal kept mum.
Eventually, the family got to know and when Govind was questioned, he ridiculed her. Believing that no one liked her Sheetal tried running away from home. She wanted Govind to come with her but he called her a slut. Sheetal grew up. The world was not kind to her at all. There were stories made up that were ridiculous. She was scoffed at, people avoided her, and her family suffered. Sheetal had to face the world head on, she was the one to blame you see, so instead of hurling back abuses, she accepted defeat.
Sheetal went on to college, made a few friends. She went out with a few boys who wanted more from her, she refused. She kept herself tidy. Unfortunately, the reputation woven around her kept coming back to haunt her. No one believed her, many still do not. She is happy at present, but the old hurts never die. Sheetal felt suicidal many times but steered the course to something better. She is working at present. She does not trust anyone to love her. She has learned over the years to discern the differences between people who are truly nice and the ones she needs to avoid.
This is such a sad tale, but like many who have been bullied, some live to tell their tale. I guess it is time to nip the horrid menace of bullying in the bud.
Sheetal lived to tell her story many do not.Published in